Game-based learning (GBL) is a learning approach that combines game principles and mechanics with classroom instruction technics. Gamification teaches skills, engages students in learning, and motivates them to succeed. The GBL interactive approaches can be used for any subject area or skill whether it is math, science, social studies, or literacy.
In GBL, the game provides a context for the learning experience – it’s not just an entertaining diversion from academic work. Games contain explicit rules that “players” must follow to advance successfully as they interact with obstacles to overcome.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how GBL works and why it has provided effective in improve student achievement. Simply, GBL creates enduring motivation by actively engaging students.
How would you define motivation? For this blog, motivation implies the reason behind a person’s actions. It is what drives people to do what they do and details how they go about it. A common misconception on this topic is that students must be “motivated” before they begin playing games to learn from the GBL experience. That simply is not true!
Gamification within the classroom is an effective tool for motivating the reluctant students. Games offer them rewards (e.g., points) and are tied directly into engaging activities such as problem-solving with creative solutions. These built-in obstacles provide a tangible aim as they learn something new and as they make progress towards winning.
GBL is also another way to engage students. This instructional method encourages students to learn and helps them develop skills and knowledge. The interactivity and fun coexist within the learning process resulting in deeper learning.
Which of these plans would be more meaningful, motivating, and engaging for students?
1. Teaching about the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion with a gamified quiz at the end to check on mastery.
2. Taking students on a simulated space mission to research the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion at the sun’s core. If they survive the mission, then they report back to base with their findings to expand the scientific community’s knowledge base.
Clearly, the second plan creates a game-based scenario, brings the students into the lesson, and forces them to problem solve while learning at every step.
GBL is growing in popularity due to its effectiveness in motivating students. Gamification builds skills through a playing experience so that students learn without even realizing it. Students are more engaged to learn and retain information better when playing games. In the next blog, we will explore some game mechanics and principles – that way, you can transform any subject and skill into a game-based learning experience.